Thursday, June 27, 2013

Tech in the Classroom: Twitter- Bulletin Board Style

One of the struggles facing teachers today is getting students to buy in.  A coworker of mine had planned on having a "Twitter" board in their room using chart paper where their students could write down "tweets" about what they were doing in class. She never really got it off the ground but the idea stuck with me.  So, when I started doing Romeo and Juliet with my class I thought it'd be a great opportunity to try my own version of a Twitter bulletin board.

Step 1 involved setting up my board.  As you can see I printed out and cut out the word "Twitter" and (it's hard to see) the little bird as well.  I then bought dry erase sentence strips and figured out that on my board I could fit three columns.  Because of this I knew it'd be impossible to have a "feed" for every character so I created one for Romeo, one for Juliet, and one for Trending Topics which would allow other characters to post.  I printed out pictures from the 1960s version of R&J to be used as their user pics.  Here's the picture- pretty good huh?

As soon as my students saw it the next day they were very excited to see it and to find out how they were going to interact with it!  
Here's how I used it- and I'll include my other pieces of advice that I've come up with from trying this out.
I had my students come up with account names for Juliet and Romeo.  We'd already done a fifteen minute version of the play and completed a KWL chart so they had a loose understanding of the play.  We put the best ones on the board and I kept track of all three of my classes suggestions.  Then the next day we voted on the top ones.  Students who wanted to go above and beyond started coming up with ideas for other characters that they knew would show up in the play.

After reading Act 1 Scene 1 I had students start creating tweets for Romeo (Juliet isn't in the scene) that would reflect his feelings at the end of the scene, and show that they understood the most important aspects of the scene in 140 characters or less.  Essentially an activity to find the main idea.  They were also welcome to come up with hashtags that were relevant.  Again by voting we came up with the best one and put it on the board.  In small writing below the tweet on the same strip I included "Posted Act 1  Scene 1" to help keep the timeline in place.

For a full version of the lesson plan and the template for the letters and handouts that can be used with the students check out my download at TPT.  
I think is well worth the investment. 

I truly think this activity can be used for any topic/book or even other subjects of class with success. 

How do you  integrate technology/student interests into your classroom?
PS Sorry for no picture of the complete board with tweets- it got taken down without my knowledge before I had a chance to photograph it.